What Does It Mean When a Dog Has Diarrhea with Blood?
Bloody diarrhea in dogs means bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.
The presence of bright red blood or fresh blood (hematochezia) indicates bleeding in the upper digestive tract, while dark, tarry or digested blood (melena) indicates bleeding in the lower parts of the digestive tract.
Bloody diarrhea in dogs can be the symptom of serious health issues such as a stomach ulcer or even GI tract cancer. However, there are many underlying causes of bloody diarrhea.
If your dog is experiencing bloody diarrhea, observe the overall situation. If showing additional signs and symptoms (vomiting, lack of appetite, or lethargy), you need to see an emergency vet.
Is Bloody Diarrhea an Emergency in Dogs?
Yes, bloody diarrhea in dogs usually is an emergency.
If your dog’s poop has blood, you should seek professional medical care because only a vet can diagnose your dog’s condition.
The vet will perform a physical examination and then order additional diagnostic tests (blood work, fecal analysis, radiographs, or ultrasonography) to determine the underlying cause and determine the correct treatment protocol.
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What Are The Possible Causes of Bloody Diarrhea?
Below is a list of some of the most prominent common causes of bloody diarrhea in dogs.
- Viral or Bacterial Infection. Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) can be caused by bacterial (E.coli, Salmonella) and viral infections (parvovirus, coronavirus, distemper). If left untreated, some of these infections are life-threatening.
- Intestinal Parasites. Worms (roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms) and protozoa (Giardia) living in the gastrointestinal tract can also result in bloody diarrhea.
- Bleeding in the Stomach or Intestines. If a dog consumes a foreign body by accident, it can lead to a severe condition or blockage of the stomach or small intestine and bleeding.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Also known as IBD, inflammatory bowel disease is a specific GI tract condition, common in certain dog breeds. Bloody stool is one of the signs of IBD in dogs.
- Toxin Indigestion. The presence of blood in the stool can be the result of toxin ingestion. The toxin the dog eats can be human medication, food, plants, or household chemicals.
- Gastric Ulceration. Ulcers in the stomach and intestines cause bloody diarrhea. They can be caused by stress, irritation, and infectious agents.
- Tumors in the Digestive Tract. On the more serious end, a few types of cancers and some non-cancerous tumors can also cause bloody diarrhea in dogs.
What Can I Give My Dog for Bloody Diarrhea?
In general, if dealing with bloody diarrhea in dogs, it is best to seek veterinary help. However, there are some simple home remedies and supplements that are worth considering.
Here is a short overview of what owners can do when dealing with bloody diarrhea in dogs.
- Bland Diet. It is recommended to replace regular dog food with a bland diet (a mixture of plain boiled white rice and chicken). This combination is nutritious and easily digestible, which means it will not put too much pressure on the irritated digestive tract.
- Probiotics. Probiotic supplements are an excellent way of supporting gut health and digestion in dogs. While they may not be strong enough to counter the effects of bloody diarrhea, they can help prevent GI tract issues.
- Dietary Fiber. Like probiotics, dietary fibers for dogs or prebiotics support gut health and regular bowel movements. Most pet supplements feature both probiotics and prebiotics.
- Pumpkin. Pumpkin for dog diarrhea is one of the simplest and most efficient home remedies. Feeding your dog pumpkin supports digestion, regular bowel movements, and overall health in the gastrointestinal system.
While these remedies are good for dog health and a healthy GI tract, if there is blood in your dog’s stool, it is advisable to talk to a vet before trying something at home.
When Should I Worry About Bloody Diarrhea in My Dog?
You need to worry about bloody poop in your dog as soon as you see it and get in touch with a vet immediately.
If immediate medical care is impossible, you can consider waiting. However, waiting more than 24 hours when dealing with bloody diarrhea in dogs is not recommended.
In addition, the more serious the symptoms, the more urgent medical care is needed. So, if your dog seems mostly fine, waiting a few hours might not be a problem.
But if there are other symptoms and the dog seems unwell, you need to get them to the vet immediately.